The Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) has sensitized selected farmers on technology-driven best practices in soybean production for improved crop yield.
The sensitization exercise forms part of this year’s annual soybean kick-off event. The event carried out at Nyankpala in the Tolon District of the Northern Region, was done in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI).
This year’s event brought together input dealers, extension agents, agricultural development agencies, the private sector and other stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities within the soybean value chain.
The sensitization followed a tour of a demonstration soybean seed farm by the farmers at Nyankpala, led by officials of SIL and CSIR-SARI. The aim was to enable the farmers learn about the ‘Soybean Management with the Appropriate Research and Technology (SMART) Farm’ concept.
The SMART Farm concept
The SMART Farm concept was adopted by the two organizations, to among other things, research and develop technologies that would help soybean farmers to enhance their crop yield.
Dr. George Awuni, SMART Farm Manager at the SIL, took participants through some of the best management practices for increased soybean productivity, and urged them to plant early and in rows as well as at high seeding density among others.
The SMART Farm Manager advised the farmers to cultivate certified soybean seeds, apply approved chemicals, and pay attention to weather conditions to help achieve the desired outcomes.
“These days hiring labour comes at a high cost, and so it is important for soybean farmers to learn and adopt technology-driven ways of production to boost crop yield and increase their income generation”.Dr. Awuni
Meanwhile, SIL also introduced a crop thresher suitable for threshing variety of soybean to the farmers.
Concerns over rising soya bean export
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) earlier urged farmers in the Upper East Region to step up cultivation of sorghum and soya beans which have ready market to boost their incomes.
The production of soya bean, which is currently being subsidized by the Government, is aimed at ensuring its availability for processing and use as animal feed by the domestic livestock and poultry industry at a cheaper cost to boost local livestock and poultry production.
However, there have been concerns that the commodity is being exported to neighboring countries, which Hon. Alan Kyerematen, Minister for Trade and Industry, said defeats the purpose of the government’s subsidies. There is currently a seven-member Soya Bean Export Permit Committee to regulate the export of the commodity.
Soya bean exports
Available Annual International Trade Statistics show that the value of exports of Soya beans, whether or not broken, from Ghana totalled $10.85 million in 2019, representing a year-on-year growth of 320% compared to 2018. In nominal terms, exports of Soya beans went up by $ 8.27 million from an amount of $2.58 million recorded in 2018.
One of the major export destinations for Ghana’s soya beans is India, which received 76% ($8.26 million) of total soya beans export in 2019. Other export destinations include Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Burkina Faso, USA, and Canada. This suggest that the prospects of soya bean are huge, requiring more efforts from the private sector to complement that of the government.